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Health

My Future Life in Pictures

June 20, 2019
Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

On July 18th, 2019 I am having surgery to fix an aneurysm in my brain. Am I looking forward to it? Yes and no. Yes because it means when it is over I can start building my life and muscles back up and no for pretty obvious reasons the least of which is cost. https://indulgentaging.com/index.php/2019/04/25/indulgent-aging-through-stroke/

I decided to do a photo collage of what I expect to have and be in my life post surgery so I hope you like pictures!

Photo by Jesse Bowser on Unsplash

Road Trip With My Sister

Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

One Day A Trip To Iceland

Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash

Hiking With My Sister

Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash

Online Guru

Photo by Guadalupe Garcia on Unsplash

Regular Exercise So I Am Strong And Sexy

Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Good Friends To Share Good Times With

Photo by Todd DeSantis on Unsplash

Love With The Right Man

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Of Course, A Healthy Body Is Necessary!

Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash

Also Necessary, A Happy, Healthy Family!

So these are the things I am looking forward to having in my life post surgery, regardless of the time I need to take to make them happen. So exciting to have so much to look forward to!

Health Practicalities of Living

Forest Bathing – Why You Need to do This

June 17, 2019
forest bathing

I have never been a very athletic person. My favorite P.E. classes were folk dancing and badminton. I once almost brained my P.E. teacher with a golf club that I lost a grip on.

My brother and sister, on the other hand, have always been very physically active. The only small place where our lives may have a chance to connect in this area is the art of hiking, a special love of my sister’s. I have to say that the one hike that I went on with her I also enjoyed a lot, so there is hope for change there.

The biggest challenge I face right now is how to hike with a walker. My goal after my next surgery to fix the aneurysm in my brain is to ditch the walker and learn to hike. In case you are unable to ditch the walker, check out these action track chairs! http://actiontrackchair.com/ and terrain hoppers https://www.terrainhopperusa.com/ http://outdoorextrememobility.com/beach-powered-wheelchair-the-beach-cruiser

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Which is why the concept of forest bathing is so compelling to me. Why do I want to shower in the woods? Well, that is not quite what forest bathing is.

Wikipedia refers to it as this: “Nature therapy, sometimes referred to as ecotherapy, describes a broad group of techniques or treatments with the intention of improving an individual’s mental or physical health, specifically with an individual’s presence within nature or outdoor surroundings. One example of a nature therapy is forest bathing or shinrin-yoku, a practice that combines a range of exercises and tasks in an outdoor environment. Garden therapy, horticultural therapy, Kneipp therapy or even ocean therapy may also be viewed as forms of nature therapy. “

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

WebMD has this to say, “Critics often scoff that research about the practice is lacking, but there is growing scientific evidence that getting outside in a natural setting is good for mind-body health. And this back-to-nature movement isn’t confined to forest therapy. Some medical doctors have trained to become forest therapy guides. Other health care providers are connecting their patients to nature in other ways. An Ohio cardiologist, frustrated that he couldn’t convince his patients to exercise, founded Walk with a Doc in 2005, which now has 500 chapters. A Washington, D.C., pediatrician writes prescriptions for his patients to go to the park — as do the more than 300 doctors and other health care providers who have signed on to his Park Rx America program.” https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20190611/forest-bathing-nature-time-hot-health-advice

Forest Bathing
Photo by Marc Pell on Unsplash

Here are some benefits to forest bathing: it reduces your stress, improves your mood, frees up your creativity, boosts your immune system, reduces your high blood pressure and accelerates your recovery from illness. Sounds like an all around win-win to me!

If you would like to read more about it, you can check out this Kindle book on Amazon: (yes, I do get a small fee if you buy it from this link!)

I hope this motivates you to get out and do a little forest bathing one way or another in the woods, at the beach or in your garden and don’t forget to TURN YOUR PHONE OFF!

Health

Buying New Athletic Shoes

December 11, 2018
Shoes for your foundation

The maintenance man that I work with at our building is an active man in his seventies who sometimes makes me crazy but makes me laugh as well. He has a heart of gold and a gruff manner and gets totally exasperated with all the women in the building who think he should handle their personal “honey-do” lists. Needless to say, he spends a lot of time running around like a chicken with his head cut off…or I guess a rooster with his head cut off! Over a year ago he was complaining about how much his feet, knees, and back were hurting. He couldn’t figure out why this was happening to him and was frustrated that his doctor couldn’t “fix it”. He decided to buy new athletic shoes to solve the problem.

bastian-ignacio-vega-cani-468434-unsplash More shoes
bastian-ignacio-vega-cani-468434-unsplash

Get Measured!

He bought several pairs of new tennis shoes and was throwing a fit that this didn’t help either. Then he happened to go to a store to buy another pair and the salesclerk measured his feet instead of taking his word for it that he still wore the same size shoe that he wore in high school! Turns out his feet were a half size bigger than he thought. He bought the new pair in the new size and low and behold his feet no longer hurt. He told me this story very sheepishly, but as someone who has an obscene number of shoes that I have purchased trying to find that magical pair that will make me a world class athlete I totally had to keep quiet! https://indulgentaging.com/index.php/2018/10/16/traveling-light/

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash More Shoes for athletics
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Advice for Buying Your Workout Shoes

Silver Sneakers (one of my favorite sites) has the following advice to offer for finding the best workout shoes:
1. Know your foot structure
2. Know your foot motion
3. Trade cotton socks for synthetic
4. Tie your socks like this (see article link below for details)
5. Slowly break in your new shoes

Workout Shoes: A Guide for Older Adults https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/workout-shoes-older-adults/

Your Feet Are Your Foundation

According to Brian Jensen, DC “Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. They must be able to properly support your body; allow you to stand, walk, run, and jump; and absorb damaging shock that enters your body every time your heel hits the ground. Every athlete deals with structural defects, many of which start in the feet.” Sounds like it is important to pay attention to our structure especially if you are having pain and trouble walking. Check out this article for more helpful information https://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=897

Athletic Shoes for health

Photo by Fidel Fernando on Unsplash

Being able to move keeps us a valid part of the world. It enables us to explore our world, expand our world and keep doing things with friends and family. Talking care of your feet and foundation takes on a whole new meaning when you look at it from that perspective. Let’s keep walking and moving! https://indulgentaging.com/index.php/2018/10/30/regrets-i-have-a-few/

Health News

Top Five Reasons for Consumers to Compare Their 2019 Health Coverage Options

November 13, 2018
Health Coverage Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Recently eHealth, Inc. released data from an analysis of trends in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) market that shed light on figures from the federal government suggesting that enrollment in ACA health coverage during the current open enrollment period may be lagging behind enrollment figures from last year.

eHealth’s analysis of its own 2018 and 2019 health insurance products offerings shows:

Fewer enrollees are being bumped from their old plans – The number of eHealth customers forced to shop for new 2019 plans because their current health plan will not be available in the new year is down 98 percent compared to last year.
Fewer insurers are departing the market – The number of eHealth customers forced to look for new coverage because their current health insurer is exiting their local market is down 100 percent compared to last year.
Fewer customers are seeing rate increases – The number of eHealth customers getting a rate increase of 10 percent or more for the 2019 plan year is down 59 percent compared to last year.
“On the one hand, this is great news for health insurance consumers, since it suggests a more stable ACA market,” said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders. “More people may be holding onto their 2018 plans into the new year. However, there’s a trade-off: With fewer changes to their coverage and moderated premiums, fewer people are being actively reminded to get out there and shop during the current open enrollment period. In fact, this may be a particularly good year for people to shop for a new plan that will better meet their needs in 2019.”

Top Five Reasons Consumers Should Compare their 2019 Coverage Options

Prescription Health Options Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Many consumers will find lower prices than last year – According to an eHealth analysis of plans available to 45-year-olds in 38 metropolitan areas through the federal health insurance marketplace, the premium for the lowest-cost bronze plan has decreased an average of 3 percent compared with last year’s open enrollment period. Some markets show double-digit premium reductions: the premium for the lowest cost bronze plan decreased 26 percent in Raleigh, NC; 18 percent in Phoenix, AZ; 15 percent in Atlanta, GA; and 13 percent in Trenton, NJ.

There are more plans to choose from compared to last year – According to eHealth’s analysis, there are 31 percent more plans to choose from across all states served by the federal health insurance marketplace. Consumers can also enroll in these plans through certain licensed brokers like eHealth.com, where additional ACA-compliant plans that are not available through government marketplaces can also be found.

Provider networks can change from one year to the next – Health insurance consumers who are pleased with their 2018 coverage should make sure that their preferred doctors and hospitals are still covered next year. Many health insurance plans change their list of network health care providers annually. At eHealth, consumers can sort available plans to see which are accepted by their preferred doctor.

Coverage for prescription drugs can also change – Consumers who are otherwise satisfied with their current plan may also wish to shop for new 2019 coverage if the insurance company has changed its list of covered medications or increased copays associated with prescription drugs. At eHealth, consumers can sort plans based on those that provide them with the greatest savings for their prescription drug needs.

There are more alternatives this time for those who can’t afford ACA coverage – People who earn too much money to qualify for government subsidies under the ACA may not always be able to afford ACA-compliant coverage on their own. This year, many will have access to short-term health insurance products with coverage periods of up to one year in most states (90 days was the federal limit last year), and they will not face a tax penalty for going without ACA-compliant coverage in 2019. ACA alternatives like short-term plans do not have the same benefits and protections as ACA plans (they do not cover the ACA’s ten minimum essential benefits or coverage for pre-existing conditions, for example), but ACA alternatives can provide meaningful protection from medical costs in many cases of unexpected illness or injury.

About eHealth

eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) owns eHealth.com, a leading private online health insurance exchange where individuals, families and small businesses can compare health insurance products from brand-name insurers side by side and purchase and enroll in coverage online and over the phone. eHealth offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by many of the nation’s leading health insurance companies. eHealth (through its subsidiaries) is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealth also offers educational resources, exceptional telephonic support, and powerful online and pharmacy-based tools to help Medicare beneficiaries navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online or over the phone through Medicare.com (www.Medicare.com), eHealthMedicare.com (www.eHealthMedicare.com), GoMedigap (www.goMedigap.com) and PlanPrescriber.com (www.PlanPrescriber.com).

Health Life Practicalities of Living

Are You Age Caged?

October 2, 2018
Bird in a cage. Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Sometimes we put birds and animals in cages for their own safety. Have you been doing the same thing to yourself?

Life & Death

I was talking to a neighbor of mine the other day. She is a fun-loving lady in her 70’s who has had three boyfriends since I moved here. She loved to go out with them and dance and socialize.

She also loves to drive and would get in the car with them and drive them all over the place, to Northern California, Idaho, Palm Springs, whatever place took their fancy.

She had a great time with each of them, the only problem is that they were all in their late 80s and 90s and they all died on her.

After the last gentleman passed away, I noticed that she was kind of depressed and not going out as she used to, so I asked her when she was going to find another boyfriend.

She was emphatic when she said, “Never!” Now, I’m not stupid and I understand that she liked these men and was sad when they died, but I told her the problem is that she is caging herself in to save herself from suffering and in the meantime, she is still not a happy camper. I have watched while she not only suffers but her health has declined as well.

Safe cage or prison?

Photo by Jose Fontano on Unsplash

Engagement or Safety

My question is, don’t you think it’s better to keep engaging and having fun where you can instead of dying slowly and carefully alone and “safe” in your apartment?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a horrible example of someone who is emotionally connected. I enjoy my own company a lot and I work like a demon for not much money. So I am not a social butterfly or even a social caterpillar.

All excuses I know, since living life to the fullest requires effort and extension. And I am tired and without patience.

However, I am also older and I feel the cage closing in on me. Things I used to be fearless about now cause me anxiety and I know if I don’t challenge those things it will only get worse.

Age Caged on the beach

Photo by James & Carol Lee on Unsplash

Challenging the Cage

How do we go about challenging the cage? I think it is different for everyone. But you can start by picking one thing that you are afraid of and then DO IT!  Or do something that is a baby step up to doing it. If you can’t set up an online dating profile maybe you can start by looking a man or woman in the eye and saying, “Hello!”

If you can’t drive on the freeway in rush hour traffic, go somewhere where the freeways are less crowded and try it there.

Or if you really want to go balls to the walls do what this lady did: http://a.co/d/8aCT94c  Jane Stern wrote this book, Ambulance Girl: How I Saved Myself by Becoming an EMT to share how becoming a volunteer EMT saved her from  being “virtually immobilized by fear and anxiety.” I have not read the book yet since I just purchased it yesterday and from the book blurb I think this option is not for everyone, but I expect to learn some good things from the reading it!

Out of the cage, free as a bird.

Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash

The Bottom Line

This is probably what I should have named my blog! But the bottom line is that there really is a large, exciting world out there and all of us, myself included, need to make the effort to join in, to be part of something that makes us smile, touches our heart or just gets our pulses racing. Use it or lose it, folks!

Health News

King Bio FDA Recall

August 28, 2018
Food_and_Drug_Administration_logo

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers and pet owners not to use drug products, including homeopathic drug products, made by King Bio Inc., Asheville, N.C., and labeled as Dr. King’s, as these products may pose a safety risk to people (especially infants, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems), as well as pets due to high levels of microbial contamination identified at the manufacturing site. King Bio has expanded its voluntary recall for a second time to include all water-based (aqueous) drug products marketed for human and animals. The FDA recommends that consumers stop using and dispose of these products immediately.

A Range Of Products Including Those for Children & Pets

King Bio manufactures a range of products including those for children, adults, and pets. Products that are part of the recall include Dr. King’s Children’s Cough Relief, Dr. King’s Chicken Pox Symptom Relief, Dr. King’s Children’s Ear Relief Formula, Dr. King’s Children’s Appetite Enhancer, Dr. King’s Attention and Learning Enhancement For Kids, Dr. King’s Cold Sore treatment, Dr. King’s Wart Freeze, and pet products for urinary incontinence and digestion relief. The full list of products is listed on the King Bio website.

Drug Supplement Recall

Products Cause an Increased Risk of Serious Infection

Consumers and pets who use these products could have an increased risk of serious infection, that could require medical attention, due to the high levels of microbial contamination. An infection could be a life-threatening event for immunocompromised patients. Consumers and pet owners who have purchased these products should contact their healthcare professional if they have concerns or observe signs of an infection after the use of these products.

King Bio Issues Voluntary Recall On All Products Using Water As An Ingredient

King Bio voluntarily recalled three drug products labeled as homeopathic due to confirmed microbial contamination in July 2018. The company then expanded its voluntary recall to include an additional 32 drug products on August 22, 2018. The FDA contacted King Bio on August 23, 2018, and recommended the company again expand its recall to include all products that use water as an ingredient, including drug products for humans and animals. The company is expanding its recall to drug products made with water marketed for human and animals.

FDA and Federal Trade Commission Issue a Joint Warning

In addition to the FDA’s concerns about the company’s recurring issues with contamination, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a joint warning letter to King Bio in January 2018, for illegally marketing an unapproved product to prevent, cure or treat opioid addiction.

The FDA encourages health care professionals and consumers to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of King Bio’s products to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program:

For reporting adverse drug events in animals, please see How to Report Animal Drug Side Effects and Product Problems.

Health Travel

I Have the Jet Lag Blues

August 28, 2018
Flying in circles with jet lag ean-alabaster-535247-unsplash

Have you ever had a bad case of jet lag? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects (as fatigue and irritability), occurs following long flight through several time zones, and probably results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body — called also jet fatigue.”

Rugby Players Without Jet Lag
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

On the other hand, The Urban Dictionary, which I have a growing fondness for says, “Jet lag is an expected scapegoat for laziness, or a sports team fucking up … andrew: ooohh.. mate im toooo tired.. my jetlag is killing me.”

View from a jet window
Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

Circadian Rhythms

Whichever way you look at it if you fly from say Sydney, Australia to Los Angles you are looking at some serious jet lag time. Non-stop flights will take up 15 hours plus of your time. This plays horrible games with your circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that most organisms, including humans, follow.

monkey with the jet lag blues
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

According to Jake Chen, an associate professor in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Graduate Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), “In our life, we say, ‘Timing is everything.’ But that’s an exaggeration. It is not, however, an exaggeration to say, ‘There is an optimal time for everything.’ In our body, it’s the same. Within individual cells and within each tissue or organ there’s a time for every physiological process. The circadian clock is the master mechanism, or timer, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and according to plan. That is a fundamental function.” https://endpoints.elysiumhealth.com/the-complete-guide-to-the-science-of-circadian-rhythms-7b78581cbffa

Watch What You Eat & Drink

So what can you do to help with your jet lag? Some advocate not eating on the plane, and most recommend no caffeine or alcohol.

Coffee in Pilgrims, Milton Australia
Coffee in Pilgrims, Milton Australia Photo by Chiara Pinna on Unsplash

Try Natural Sleep Aids

Sleeping on the flight is highly recommended, but advice that is not always easy to follow.  You can try taking melatonin to help you sleep as well as bringing eye covers and earplugs. Here is an interesting article by Alex Fergus on natural aids that you can use to help with sleep deprivation. https://www.alexfergus.com/blog/how-to-sleep-on-planes-and-beat-jet-lag

Sleeping Koala Bear
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Here is another article by legalnomads.com that has some excellent advice for dealing with jet lag. https://www.legalnomads.com/jet-lag-tips/

Tips For The Nerdy Among Us

If you are really feeling nerdy there are 40 times zones in the world and you can learn all about them here plus track where the sun and moon are in the world at any given moment.  https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/sunearth.html

Don’t Let Jet Lag Keep You Down

Above all, don’t let jet lag stop your traveling. The world is a wonderful place full of interesting people and things of beauty. What’s a little jet lag weighed against that?

Camel, Man, Fun, Travel
Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash
Health

Flexibility & Strength Important at Any Age

August 21, 2018
Strength & Flexibility

What I am looking for at my age are strength and flexibility. The conundrum is that as you age you tend to lose both muscle strength and flexibility. And your pain from arthritis increases.

Practice the Movement of Children

Movement and Flexibility of Children
Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash

I have been approaching it on two fronts, deal with the pain and find an exercise routine that I like that makes me feel great. The pain dealing experiments are still in testing mode https://indulgentaging.com/index.php/2018/02/21/cannabis-safe-effective-regular-use-elderly/ but here is a new exercise modality that you may find helpful.

Relaxercise or The Feldenkrais Method

Relaxercise: The Easy New Way to Health & Fitness is a book by David Zemach-Bersi based on a method of exercise and rehabilitation created by Moshé Feldenkrais who devised the method as a way to help with a chronic knee condition that he had from two separate injuries. https://www.amazon.com/Relaxercise-Easy-New-Health-Fitness-ebook/dp/B01BSJU7TA

The method is based on the idea people can use small targeted movements along with a concentrated body awareness to allow them to “rediscover [their] innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement” per Wikipedia.

Graceful Movement and Flexibility
Photo by xiaole Zheng on Unsplash

Sensory-Motor Learning and Flexibility

Zemach-Bersi said in his book,  “Relaxercise is the first exercise system to improve your body by stimulating and using your brain’s natural process of sensory-motor learning.”

Your Body is Smart!

Pair of Hunchbacks from Wikipedia
Pair of Hunchbacks from Wikipedia

Massage therapy teaches us that the body is very efficient. When we repeatedly carry our shoulders high up around our ears or slump over a keyboard all day or walk with a limp because we injured ourselves, our bodies will “help us out” by modifying muscle tissue to aid us in maintaining those positions with less work.

This means that we inadvertently teach our bodies poor habits that end up hurting us and limiting our flexibility. In order to change those habits, we need to be aware of them.

The Mind-Body Connection

Strength and Fitness of a child
Photo by Jordan Christian on Unsplash

This book and method emphasize the mind-body connection. We need to practice moving like children learning how to walk, run or ride a bike. We need to connect with our senses to accomplish new things.

Ruthy Alon Bones for Life

I love the flexibility of Ruthy Alon. She has several videos on YouTube that show the results of years of the Feldenkrais Method. She moves very fast and fluidly in these but the motions when you first start are slow and deliberate.

This is my happy place
Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

Where I want to be eventually is in my happy place. The place I can move freely. I do not think this is beyond my capacity. I just need to breathe, stretch and keep learning to be child-like!